Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Which sex is best for coral reef fish

29.08.2003


Puberty blues: goby fish choose their sex to find a mate



Research on the Great Barrier Reef has revealed that some young reef fish can choose when they mature and which sex they want to be when they grow up.

Research conducted by JP Hobbs, an honours student at James Cook University, Townsville, focused on a colourful goby that lives in bushy corals. The research may win him a British Council sponsored study tour of the UK.


Announcing his research results at Fresh Science in Melbourne today, JP said, “We already know that lots of adult fish change sex. Now we’ve discovered that juvenile fish also possess this flexible sexual development,” he says. “With juvenile coral gobies this flexible sexual development is influenced by social conditions.”

JP found that juveniles only mature when they meet an adult fish. If they meet a male fish they mature as females and vice versa.

“It all relates back to a coral goby’s lifestyle,” he says. “The big adult gobies muscle their way into the larger corals where they form a breeding pair.”

“Juveniles are not allowed to live with the adults and are forced to live by themselves in corals too small to support a breeding pair. Here they eagerly await the disappearance of an adult so that they can enter the larger coral and pair up with the remaining adult.”

“With all the larger corals occupied by breeding pairs, there are very few opportunities for a juvenile to ‘get lucky’. So it makes sense for a juvenile to delay maturing until it finds a partner and then to mature into the opposite sex of the newfound adult.”

“We suspect this flexibility in juvenile sexual development also happens in many other reef fish. After hatching, fish larvae drift onto reefs and have no idea as to how many males and females are on a reef,” he explains. “Flexibility in sexual development will enable a juvenile to mature into the best sex for obtaining a mate.”

“It’s important that we understand what’s happening with these fish as there are implications for:
  • conservation – the coral goby only lives in bushy corals which are very vulnerable to coral bleaching;

  • aquaculture – to get the best growth rates, farmers need to understand how to stop fish from maturing;

  • fisheries management – sex-changing fish require different management practices.”

JP is presenting his research to the public for the first time thanks to Fresh Science, a national program to bring public attention to the remarkable unsung achievements of young Australian scientists. He will be speaking to the public and school students about his work on Tuesday 19 and Wednesday 20 August at the Melbourne Museum.

Niall Byrne | alfa
Further information:
http://www.freshscience.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Stiffness matters
22.02.2018 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht Separate brain systems cooperate during learning, study finds
22.02.2018 | Brown University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Developing reliable quantum computers

International research team makes important step on the path to solving certification problems

Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stiffness matters

22.02.2018 | Life Sciences

Magnetic field traces gas and dust swirling around supermassive black hole

22.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

First evidence of surprising ocean warming around Galápagos corals

22.02.2018 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>